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TIP OF THE DAY: Try New Ingredients, Like Piquillo Peppers

Roasted piquillo chiles stuffed with tuna,
crumbled Manchego cheese, capers, parsley
and a touch of lemon juice. Photo courtesy
DeLallo Foods.


Today’s tip is an easy way to expand your culinary horizons: Try a new ingredient each month (if you’re ambitious, each week). Work it into different recipes and decide if it deserves a place in your everyday or special-occasion repertoire.

We’ll start you off with a suggestion: piquillo peppers. They’ve been a favorite in Spain for centuries, for tapas, stews and other recipes. We picked up some piquillos from Roland and Delallo.

Delectable and easy to use straight from the jar (DeLallo) or can (Roland), their vibrant color and piquant, roasted flavor make piquillos a welcome ingredient to enliven winter cooking.

Use them instead of roasted red bell peppers—they’ll bring an extra depth of flavor. The wall of a piquillo is much thinner than a bell pepper, with a richer, sweeter flavor and a hint of spiciness. When purchased in cans or jars, they’ve typically been fire roasted, adding a touch of of smokiness.


The piquillo originated in Northern Spain and was named for its conical shape, which reminded people of a bird’s beak. Piquillo means “little beak” in Spanish.

Use piquillos on sandwiches and in salads; with drinks, cut and rolled onto a toothpick (you can add an olive, caperberry or cube of cheese to the toothpick); and by all means, stuffed. The shape makes piquillos ideal for stuffing; the Spanish stuff them with everything from seafood to vegetables. We’ve been filling them with everything from leftover rice and other grains to potatoes, goat cheese, feta and tabbouleh, to tuna, egg and potato salads. Delicious! They also add a sweet touch to chili.


Roland Foods suggests:

  • Drain the piquillos and blot them with paper towels; they’ll be easier to slice.
  • Don’t rinse piquillos from a jar or can; you’ll rinse away flavor.

  • Here’s an easy recipe for a flavored sandwich spread or dip: Process piquillo chiles until smooth with 1 cup of mayonnaise and 1 grated garlic clove.
  • Try this delicious recipe for Chicken Stew with Piquillo Peppers and White Wine.

    Check out our Chile Glossary.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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